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Sparkler Bomb Kills Brookings Man

July 7, 2008, 5:48 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Sparkler Bomb Kills Brookings Man
A 23-year-old Brookings man is dead after the homemade firework he created exploded Sunday evening.

The Brookings Police Department believes Ryan Voeller was creating what's known as a sparkler bomb Sunday evening, when it suddenly exploded. The impact of that explosion was so violent, Voeller was pronounced dead just a short while later at the Brookings hospital.

"Horrific,” is how Troy Kraft recalls the scene just after Sunday’s explosion. “I was calling 911 when I was running over there. It was just chaotic." 

Even a day after the explosion, Troy Kraft finds it hard to describe what happened Sunday at his neighbor's home. Kraft says 23-year-old Ryan Voeller and his roommates were typically quiet and the fireworks accident was unexpected. 

Kraft recalls, "The noise was ... I don't know. It was the loudest explosion I've ever hear in my life. I can't compare anything to it." 

Sergeant Joey Collins of the Brookings Police Department says, "Some people heard it on the South part of town, about a half mile away." 

Detectives with the Brookings Police department say there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding the incident. In fact, they don't even know what could have ignited the sparkler bomb. 

"I don't know if we're ever going to know that,” says Sergeant Collins. “It sounds like it was probably a mistake. Information we have is he was possibly trying to just put it together and take it out in the country somewhere and fire it off there so nobody would get hurt." 

Instead, the unexpected explosion shot debris hundred of feet across the street, and left a neighborhood in shock.
"If you try to make something yourself or do something, then something like this can happen with tragic results,” says Collins. 

Although the blast shook nearby homes, no other buildings were damaged.

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